The training is over, the tapering complete, the time has come for Felicity to pin on her race number and head to the start line. How did she get on? Did she make it round the Kielder Marathon course in one piece?
Kielder Marathon – The Big Day!
I wasn’t feeling too nervous when I woke up on the morning of the marathon. I had prepared myself for ‘just getting round’, a phrase which ended up having a superstitious quality: if anyone asked what I was aiming for, anything bar these few words would mean abject failure. So, armed with this talisman, I prepared with a hefty bowl of porridge, a pint of water and a cup of tea. A banana in my bag kept the hunger panic at bay.
I was given a lift by my friend who had entered the half marathon event, and her brother who eventually came 10th in the marathon, with a stonking time of just over 3hours, and we made our way to the start. For anyone who has not been to Kielder, it is quite simply beautiful: the start of the race was based in Leaplish, which overlooks the manmade reservoir and is surrounded by cosy woodland. I have been in other races before where I have been confronted by endless road or tarmac and almost cried off before I began, but at Kielder I was almost (ALMOST) looking forward to the prospect of running 26.2 miles around its edge.
The race began and me and Adam set off at a leisurely pace, reminding each other to slow down over the hills. At 2 miles in a spectator shouted “nearly there!”, which we thought a bit unrealistic. Apart from that, we were feeling pretty good and still had energy to chat most of the way around. We were averaging about 9.10-minute mile pace for the first 10 or so miles only had minor aches or pains.
Half way through
We reached the half way point at around 2 hours 10 minutes. I usually feel knackered at this point if I am racing a half marathon, however because of the training we had put in and the steady pace we were running, I was still smiling.
I remarked to Adam how great this run was, jokingly following it up with ‘touch wood’. I felt that we were invincible, that the superstition was superfluous.
By this point, I had been sick at mile 14 (too many electrolyte gels); both calves had cramped up at mile 20 (I’d never even experienced cramp in one calf before, so I was even a little bit delighted by this); my arm went numb and tingly at mile 22; and when I crossed the finish line I cried like a baby.
Despite all this I really REALLY enjoyed the marathon. It was only the last 6 miles that really finished me off and I experienced the unique hell of choosing whether to walk and seize up or run and hurt. It got to the point where running slowly uphill at mile 25 was preferable to walking.
I can’t finish this blog without a shout-out to the hill at mile 19. After completing the Kielder half marathon last year, this was the point I was dreading the most. Imagine a hill so steep that rather than a path straight up, it snakes around, and even with this the incline is unbearable. I concede that we walked a lot of hills to save energy, but with this hill, even walking was a struggle.
We finished in a respectable time of 4hrs 35 minutes and honestly, I am super proud of this achievement. The last few years have had their ups and downs, and I never thought I would get to this point. Ignore the look on my face in the picture below, I was very happy to see the end.
Felicity – Podiatrist at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic
Congratulations Felicity, we are all very proud of you! Don’t forget to book in for a post-run massage.